US: Two Plead Guilty to Transnational Tax Fraud Scheme

Published: 24 August 2023

Tax FormU.S. taxpayers are vulnerable to fraud schemes where their personal information is compromised. (Photo: PxHere, License)

By Lieth Carrillo

Two men have pleaded guilty to participating in a transnational tax fraud scheme, in which members of a group of four hacked into computer servers of businesses in the United States, stole personal information of U.S. citizens, and requested income tax refunds.

Adetunji Adejumo and Ibrahim Jinadu were arrested in September 2021 in the U.S., while two other members of the group were apprehended in the United Kingdom. However, this week’s statement from the Florida Attorney's Office mentioned only three suspects: Adejumo, Jinadu, and one of the London operatives, Olufemi Odedeyi, whose extradition is pending.

The U.K.-based conspirators were the ones who gained unauthorized access to computer servers and stole personal data. The two operating in the U.S. used the data to apply for income tax refunds and, once collected, split the funds with their colleagues in London.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, the conspirators "employed various methods to obtain unauthorized access to the computer servers, including operating a website for years that sold access to compromised computers worldwide and to the PII of U.S. residents. The administrators of the site strategically maintained servers around the world to facilitate its operation."

Tax refund schemes are not new in the United States. In March of this year, an Ecuadorian woman was convicted for her involvement in a fraud scheme in which she, along with other Ecuadorians, claimed income tax refunds on behalf of foreign nationals, obtaining around 142 refunds.

Tax season in the United States is a time of special concern for the authorities due to the vulnerability faced by taxpayers concerning fraud and identity theft schemes. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the entity responsible for tax collection in the country, issues alerts to inform taxpayers about potential scams they may encounter and provides guidance on how to prevent them.

"People should exercise caution and refrain from sharing sensitive personal data over the phone, email, or social media to avoid falling victim to these scams. Additionally, individuals should always be cautious if a tax deal sounds too good to be true," warns the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service.